Sears Canada eliminating 800 jobs at Montreal call centre
Published Thursday, January 16, 2014 1:51PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:09PM EST
Almost 800 people will lose their jobs in St. Laurent when Sears Canada closes its local call centre.
The jobs will all be phased out by the end of 2014.
Many people were extremely upset to learn that their jobs are being eliminated.
"I thought it was going to be stable, I had a stable job," said Kadeem Steril.
"I was relaxed and stuff, and now to hear this doesn't, you know, at 2:00 like before your shift, it's not always good."
Steril said he will find out in the weeks to come when his employment at Sears will end.
Other workers who learned their jobs are being eliminated are worried about finding new work.
Jean Leon said several people have worked for Sears for decades.
"Some of us have been here for a long time and it's hard to find new jobs nowadays and the market is competitive," said Leon.
Security guards escorted CTV Montreal reporter Aphrodite Salas off the property Thursday morning and gave her a slip of paper with a number for public relations.
However repeated calls demonstrated that the phone number was not yet in service.
The job cuts announced late Wednesday will affect an additional 800 people outside of Quebec, mostly at warehouses in Calgary, Belleville and Vaughan Ont., and in Vancouver.
The call centre jobs in Ontario and Montreal will be outsourced to IBM, with English-language phone operations being routed through the Philippines and French-language calls going to Europe.
Sears Canada is in the middle of a three-year plan to revive its fortunes in the face of stiff competition from other retailers.
The company’s President and CEO, Doug Campbell issued a statement ensuring that the company's decisions were not made without considerable thought and deliberation.
“We are planning for the future of Sears Canada and taking steps now that will allow us to continue to serve customers as a viable national retailer,” the statement read.
Two years ago Sears Canada employed 31,000 people. By the end of the year the company will be employing just 20,000.
The company has also sold off the leases to several locations
Analysts say that the arrival of big American stores in the country has been a game changer.
“When Target announced it was coming to Canada, you saw a lot of major retailers changing gears, changing directions, “said Robert Soroka, marketing professor.
“You saw Canadian Tire rationalizing, you saw Hudson’s Bay repositioning – but, you didn't see a lot from Sears and that hurt them immensely.”
Soroka isn’t sure if the company’s long-term strategy is enough to save them.
As far as the employees go, St. Laurent’s borough mayor Alan DeSousa said he is doing what he can to help.
“As soon as we heard the news yesterday we called Emploi Quebec to see how we can facilitate and help these workers,” he said. “Also it's important to make sure that Sears Canada helps these people re-find new jobs.”